How to Evaluate the Quality of Your Outsourced Content
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Content outsourcing releases a company from performing many additional tasks and also provides access to specialized services. However, when employing external content writers, a main concern of clients is that they will not be able to guarantee the quality of outsourced content. And this is a very valid concern. Because content writing is a relatively new discipline, it lacks standardized parameters. Likewise, there is a great range of providers, from dedicated and serious to unconventional and s adventurous, as well as individuals who have not gained proper training.
Fortunately, we can learn valuable lessons from the experience of others. Not surprisingly, according to a study by Demand Metric, 62% of companies outsource content marketing. These numbers are a good starting point although, when searching for the best provider for your company, you should outline criteria that will reflect the needs and characteristics you want the content writing to emphasize.
How can you ensure the quality of the outsourced content?
Choosing the right content writing provider is the first step to ensure quality results. It is worth investing the time to evaluate the outsourcing service proposal, as this will result in faster and more effective deliveries. Corrections and edits slow down the workflow. This can have a negative impact on the performance of the digital marketing plan.
The content writing provider must become a strategic ally who understands your business and shares your goals. Although the requirements may be different depending on the type of company and its needs, it is always recommended that the following points be evaluated when hiring a content writing provider:
Assess skills and experience
The degree of knowledge of the content provider has about your industry will facilitate the production of high quality content. Remember that content marketing requires much more than writing skills. The content outsourcing partner must fully understand the specifics of both your business and your audience. Check if they have worked on other projects in your industry or related areas. Determine the scope of their responsibilities and their ability to adapt to the demands of your business.
However, sometimes suppliers who have no previous training or experience in your industry may be a suitable match. A versatile content writing service that can prove its skill levels by tackling diverse topics is always a good choice. A willingness to research and learn about a topic is an invaluable attribute in any content writing provider. Do not overlook this, as it suggests commitment and interest in the projects.
Evaluate methodology and procedures
A content writing service provider should be able to clearly explain their work process. You should have a precise notion of the actors involved, the methodology and the quality controls. Pay attention to the monitoring mechanisms used and the ability to anticipate and resolve problems or unforeseen events.
Always check available communication channels and schedules, especially if your provider is in another time zone. Confirm who will be your contact person for your inquiries and requests and also designate a spokesperson for your company.
Validate references and review work samples
Success stories and samples of previous work are an excellent way to gain a fuller picture and assess of a supplier’s potential. Moreover, feedback from their previous clients will prove a resourceful guide concerning the quality of their service. Ask for references from current projects and former clients. This will help you determine if the response and service offered will meet your needs. Compare the challenges and objectives of these providers with those of your business and draw parallels with your own.
Meet the team
The heart of a content writing service provider is the writers. Request information about the editors. Among other things, you can inquire about:
- Number of editors working in the company
- Expertise and average years of experience
- Availability and management model
How to optimize the process in four steps
Regardless of the methodology employed by your content writing provider, you should define your own strategy before outsourcing. This will allow you to optimize procedures and obtain better results. Follow these four simple steps to ensure a smoother, more efficient workflow:
Step 1: Define objectives
No one knows where you want to take your business better than you do. Align your business objectives with the expected results of your content marketing plan. Does it point to an increase in sales? Do you want to build brand identity or strengthen your reputation? Establish a concrete distinction between good resolutions and tangible challenges. Any objective must be measurable qualitatively or quantitatively. Therefore, don’t forget to establish effectiveness metrics. If you are not sure what you want to achieve, you will not be able to evaluate success.
Step 2: Give precise instructions
Ambiguity is one of the greatest adversaries to effective content marketing. Be sure to provide your content provider with clear and complete instructions. Don’t leave out details or assume your provider knows what you need. Pay particular attention to the desired tone of voice, style, formatting and layout. Your brand’s style guides and references or examples of past content pieces are very useful tools.
Remember that the starting point of any project is the initial brief. Be sure to provide all the necessary information. For content outsourcing to be effective, it is essential to be clear about what is required. Otherwise, you will have to undertake lengthy and costly review processes, which will be frustrating for everyone. If the subcontracted service is limited to the drafting of content and not to the general plan, you must indicate:
- Extension of the parts
- Number of inbound and outbound links
- Image or graphic requirements
Additionally, it may be helpful to share with potential providers the role each piece plays in your digital marketing plan.
Step 3: Track results
To guarantee success, it is not enough that the content writing provider fits your specifications perfectly. You should, nevertheless, check in with them regularly to see if you are getting the expected benefits from the plan. Analyze the results of the effectiveness metrics and apply the necessary corrective actions as soon as possible.
Tracking ROI may seem complicated, but it’s an essential step. When objectives are associated with numerical parameters, it is easier to measure them. This does not mean that the performance of a content plan is necessarily associated with sales. The qualitative objectives can also be measured.
These are the four content marketing metrics you should monitor:
One of the main goals of any digital marketing plan is to increase web traffic. By increasing your page views, you will have a better chance of getting new customers or converting prospects. Track the behavior of each post. This may bring some surprises, but it will certainly allow you to identify trends and direct your future actions accordingly.
The audience can interact in different ways with the content. Pay attention to which pieces are shared the most on social media, how many comments they get and what kind of responses they receive.
Content marketing helps to generate new leads. Valuable content can help you build a robust contact base. As you well know, this is a gateway to future sales. Analyze which pieces are most effective in engaging your audience. Take note of the number of resource downloads, subscriptions and other actions that are triggered by your posts.
Work together with your sales department to determine which content was most effective for conversions. You can then refine your strategy and the guidance for your supplier based on the type of messaging that performs best. But remember: it’s better to have 1,000 leads with a 1% conversion rate than 10 leads with a 10% conversion rate. Evaluate the buyer’s journey and optimize the process with tailored content for each phase.
Step 4: Embracing change
Content marketing is an iterative process. Your plan must evolve constantly. Consequently, it must be flexible and willing to innovate to adapt to the changing needs and desires of the audience. Keep communication channels open with your target audience and encourage your supplier to share their opinions.
Consider using polls on social media or on your website to learn about audience expectations. You can also send your customers satisfaction surveys by email. On the other hand, you can get valuable ideas from brainstorming with your content writing provider. Customers, suppliers and the company form an inseparable triad to ensure the effectiveness of a content marketing strategy.
Expert tips for content outsourcing
Our many years of experience as a content writing provider have enabled us to identify the best practices. These are simple practices that improve working relationships and increase productivity. To take your content marketing to a new level, be sure to implement these four basic recommendations:
Define your personality
Your brand has its own style. It is shaped by the values, beliefs and objectives of your organization. The way you communicate with your audience should be consistent with your personality. To establish the right tone and voice for your content, you must first define your brand personality. Remember that, in content marketing, it’s not just what you say that matters, but how you say it.
You will get better service from the content writing provider if you provide them with a complete brand profile. Messages will be more authentic and differentiated. This knowledge will help enable them to create content that accurately represents your company.
Feedback is the basis for growth and optimization within any business relationship. Each evaluation or comment nurtures the process and subsequently continues to improve the processes. In addition, the initial effort is minimized and the pace of work becomes smoother and more efficient.
Defining clear performance objectives makes it easier to control and monitor results. In this way, both customer and supplier can take on new challenges and improve the allocation of resources. You will thus be able to delegate tasks and make more efficient use of your time without losing control over your brand. The more specific the briefing and feedback, the less need there is for supervision. Moreover, the quality of the service you receive continuously improves.
This constant improvement can only be achieved when there is a real commitment and shared objectives. Give your provider constructive criticism to encourage them to do a better job. At the same time, be open to hearing their recommendations to ensure maximum performance on every project.
Establish strong business relationships
It is in your best interest to establish a long-term relationship with your content writing service provider. First, as they become more familiar with your company, you will be able to provide more value. In return, you will receive content perfectly adapted to your brand produced with a strategic vision.
Likewise, the continuous collaborative work will simplify and streamline processes, allowing a faster response and creating a quality portfolio.
Keep this in mind when choosing a supplier. The price decision should not be the focal point of a good deal for the future. Value and reward your business partner’s talent and commitment with fair and reasonable compensation. Although it may sound paradoxical, it will save you resources in the long run. You will be able to avoid multiple selection and training processes. Over time, you will manage to reduce review and adjustment time and get higher quality content.
Sign a contract
Specifying the foundation of the agreement in a document serves two functions. On one hand, it constitutes a legal guarantee against any breach or violation of the conditions. In addition, you are thereby obliged to precisely define the scope of the project and the related responsibilities. If possible, have a lawyer review the terms of the contract. If not, you can find various models on the Internet, which you can adapt to ensure they fit your needs.
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